Ribery, Benzema face trial over underage escort
French international footballers Franck Ribery and Karim Benzema are to face trial for allegedly soliciting an underage prostitute, judicial sources said today.sports Updated: Aug 14, 2012 23:00 IST
French international footballers Franck Ribery and Karim Benzema are to face trial for allegedly soliciting an underage prostitute, judicial sources said on Tuesday.
The footballers are among eight people that investigating magistrate Andre Dando has sent for trial as well as the Zaman Cafe on Paris' Champs Elysees where the meetings with Zahia Dehar took place.
Some of the defendants will be prosecuted for "aggravated pimping", according to judicial papers.
Paris prosecutors had in 2011 requested that the case against the two French football stars be dropped on the grounds that they did not know that Dehar was aged under 18.
Dehar, now 20, told police she was paid for sex with Ribery in 2009 and Benzema in 2008 when she was aged 16. She claimed that both players were not aware that she was under age.
The affair broke during 2010 and tarnished the image of the France football team just weeks ahead of the World Cup in South Africa.
Ribery, 29, plays for Bundesliga club Bayern Munich and 24-year-old Benzema with Primera Liga giants Real Madrid.
Both face a possible three years in prison or a 45,000 euro fine.
Ribery and Benzema have been named in France coach Didier Deschamps' squad for the friendly game against Uruguay in the northern city of Le Havre on Wednesday.
But Deschamps refused to comment on the situation, calling it "a delicate subject".
"I won't be commenting on it as it has a private dimension. It's in the court's hands. It will not change my demands about players' behaviour on and off the pitch with respect to the French team," he told reporters.
"I am concentrating on the essentials so tomorrow (Wednesday) we see a France team that wants to go forward and wants to win."